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Transmission rate of COVID-19 increasing between people 16-29

State officials said West Virginia is seeing an increase in COVID-19 transmission rates in people between the ages of 16 and 29, as well as more cases of the UK variant of the virus.

To that end, they are increasing efforts to get people in this age group vaccinated.

“The UK variant is more infectious and more lethal,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus Czar. “In Europe, younger people are getting sicker.”

So far, there are 24 cases of the UK variant in West Virginia – all mostly in border counties. including Monongalia.

“West Virginia is facing the challenge of the spread of the infection,” Marsh said Wednesday during Gov. Jim Justice’s regular COVID-19 briefing for the media.

“Germany, Italy, and Michigan are getting overrun by variants,” he said.

Since Monday, seven more West Virginians have died of COVID-19-related causes, bringing the number of deaths in the state associated with the virus to 2,619. There are 5,581 active cases, including 389 new cases since Monday. The number of people in the hospital with the virus is 212, with 73 in intensive care. Statewide, Justice said, 130,290 have recovered.

Jefferson County was the only red county in the state’s COVID-19 alert map.

The state is receiving 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week. Justice said those doses will be taken directly to companies, so employees can get vaccinated.

The governor also said the state will end its use of colored-coded maps as it pertains to high schools. All high schools in the state will remain open unless there is a significant outbreak of the virus. He attributed this to the willingness of both teachers and school personnel to receive the shot.

“It’s good to retire the map,” Marsh said. “Let the children go to school.”

The state is also allowing live music to resume. Also, summer camps may begin May for children, Justice said.

State-run vaccine clinics will open in three counties — Berkeley, Monongalia and Kanawha, Justice announced. If you are 65 and older and have not gotten your vaccine, call the hotline. If you can make it to one of these clinics, they will get you vaccinated immediately, the governor said.
The hotline is 1-833-734-0965.